Attic design Ideas

Photo by Molly Stevens

If you want to add extra space to your home, whether for a growing family or a changing lifestyle, why not think of an upward extension? An attic renovation could offer space for your family’s different needs – Dad’s workplace or shop, a craft or play room for the children, or a home office or reading space. There are a number of different things to consider in making an attic room suitable for a remodeling plan.

1. Is there sufficient support in the flooring for the activity you wish to use the space for? Is the room large enough for the furniture and other things you wish to put in the space? You may have to hire an expert home assessor to accurately determine this; however, we can help you find a contractor in your area.

2. Is there ample headroom? Most likely, the roof would be pitched high enough to provide a good amount of space in the middle of the loft. However, you will also need to consider the sides of the attic. Will you still be able to stand up straight when you move around? This is why the attic is an ideal space to use as a bedroom or home office where you will not need to move around so much. The space at the sides of the room can then be conveniently used for storage.

3. Electricity can either be provided to the attic room or not; if so, it will be necessary to see how it can be tied into the rest of the house, and if there is sufficient power.

4. A lot of attics do not have insulation. Consider how the projected space is going to be insulated and how this will affect the size of the space.  Also look at how the space will be heated and cooled as attics will be warmer in summer and cooler in winter than the rest of the home.

5. Think about how light is going to be supplied in the finished room. Is there a need to build skylight openings or windows at the side of the room?


6. Is including a bathroom part of the plan? If yes, will the flooring be structurally strong enough to support the weight of things to be placed in the room? Is the space near enough to be connected to an available water source? How will the pipes and fixtures be installed?

7. How will the attic room be accessed? Some kind of stairway will be needed, so plan a location for it. Take into consideration how this may effect the rooms beneath the attic as well as the attic itself.

As soon as these questions have been answered between yourselves and your contractor, you can start planning the room itself. The dimensions of your house and the angle of the roof will establish the size of the space available for use.

Here are some of the basic requirements that should be considered in planning your attic space:
• Stairway and Opening
• Wall construction
• Doors, closets and window installation
• Structural support
• Building a sturdy flooring
• Electrical wiring
• Vent fan installation
• Plumbing work for a bathroom
• Insulation
• Duct work installation for heating and cooling

In an attic with limited headroom, there are a number of  ideas for increasing the usable space, including built-in shelves for toys or books, fitted bookcases and fixed work tables, and dormer windows to get more light, air and extra headroom.  Extra storage space can be found behind the walls, where full height is not necessary.  Just add flooring, install shelves, and add an access door.

The function of the room will most likely tell you how to design the area. You may want an open ceiling and exposed beams or to cover the walls with sound-proof fabric for a mini theater purpose. You may consider tile or hard wood for the floors if want a kitchen.

Whether it should be a do-it-yourself project or not depends on the structural make-up of the attic, your capability to do carpentry and other work, and of course, the building codes in your area. You may also need to consider the value added to your house by the attic renovation or addition.

So you can be completely sure, there are instruments that you can use to check the structural reliability of your attic room for the building project you want to carry out. However, one single error in designing the room can place the dependability and safety of both the new room and the other areas in the home in jeopardy. It is always wise to hire an expert who can do a professional inspection and evaluate the structural reliability of the space and determine if any changes are needed to keep the structure stable before any kind of renovation effort kicks off.

Always consider the building codes in your locality to confirm space and general requirements that are needed for the new room. Also, check with the local offices or state agencies to acquire the proper permits for the project and to learn which kinds of labor need to be carried out by certified professionals only.

Cautious planning, being watchful of the basics of building structures, and hard work combined with using little ingenuity and some vision, allow an attic room to be made into a very useful area for the family, without spending too much money. Find your attic to be that fun space that you always dreamed of.

To find some great inspiration for your new room, check out our Design Gallery. For help getting a cost estimate, try our free, easy to use attic remodel cost calculator.